Damien Kayat previews the round of 32 match between Shelby Rogers and Bianca Andreescu as well as the round of 16 between Karolina Pliskova and Amanda Anisimova from the Silicon Valley Classic.
2022 WTA Tour
Silicon Valley Classic
San Jose State University (Outdoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 32 and Round of 16 Matches
Round of 32- 2nd August
Shelby Rogers (2/1) vs Bianca Andreescu (37/100)
Shelby Rogers has emerged as a consistent performer over the last few seasons after overcoming long-term battles with knee injuries. But this hasn’t been a terrific season for the 29-year-old American.
She comes into this event with a pretty underwhelming record of 12-17 for the year (her best result was a semi-final run at the Libema Open).
But Rogers should embrace the switch to the North-American hardcourts as this is where she has generally found her best form. She beat Serena Williams en route to a semi-final run at the 2020 Top Seed Open.
She also reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells last season. More importantly, Rogers has shone at the US Open in the last two seasons, winning seven of nine matches at Flushing Meadows.
Her aggressive style is perfectly suited to the speed of these courts and I wouldn’t be surprised if her season starts to kick into gear now.
2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has been showing steady signs of improvement since her return to action in April.
Andreescu endured a rollercoaster of injury concerns that left her considering a shock early retirement (Ashleigh Barty style). But she has knuckled down well since her return from injury, winning 12 of 19 matches and reaching her maiden grass-court final at the Bad Homburg Open. And now she returns to the type of courts where she has typically thrived.
In addition to her 2019 US Open title, Andreescu also won titles at Indian Wells and the Canadian Open. Unlike Rogers, Andreescu doesn’t rely on all-out aggression to compete on these slicker surfaces.
She mixes up her game with a variety of slices and drop-shots. But her greatest asset is her defensive skill. Much like Djokovic, Andreescu has the ability to return the seemingly unreturnable. This should make this a very intriguing battle indeed.
The Verdict: Rogers to win at 2/1- Rogers actually holds a 1-0 head-to-head advantage over the Canadian, beating Andreescu in straight-sets at last year’s Chicago Fall Tennis Classic.
I think there’s enough to suggest that Rogers could pull off an upset this week. Sure, her season has been a bit of a dud thus far. But she far more comfortable on these faster surfaces.
Round of 16- 3rd August
Karolina Pliskova (8) (13/8) vs Amanda Anisimova (4/9)
Former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova has probably enjoyed one of the worst seasons in her otherwise consistent career.
The Czech was forced to miss much of the early part of the season due to a hand injury. Since her return, Pliskova has only managed a paltry 10-11 win-loss record. Her best result was a semi-final run on the Strasbourg clay-courts.
I have noticed that her usually reliable first-serve hasn’t worked with the same efficacy this season. The 30-year-old is entering a portion of the season where she traditionally plays well. Last year she surged into the WTA Finals courtesy of a stellar end to the year. She reached the final of the Canadian Open and semi-finals in Cincinnati.
She then made it to the final eight at Flushing Meadows. Furthermore, Pliskova was beaten finalist at this event in 2015 (though that was prior to the move to current venue San Jose State University).
Her first-round victory against Katie Boulter was a gruelling three-set affair that saw her avenge two recent defeats to the Brit (including a 2nd-round Wimbledon defeat). She may need to be at her very best to beat up-and-coming American starlet Amanda Anisimova.
20-year-old Amanda Anisimova has enjoyed an extremely consistent season that currently sees her ranked 25th in the world.
Her first-round victory against Ashlyn Kruger took her win-loss record to 30-11 for the season. She won her 2nd WTA title on the Melbourne hardcourts and reached her 2nd Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon.
This event actually marks her first appearance on tour since losing to Simona Halep in the final eight at SW19. Anisimova is a prototypical modern player who hugs the baseline and tries to pummel her opponents into submission with brutal groundstrokes.
She is generally considered to be one of the best returners on the tour and that should make this a thrilling encounter. Pliskova’s usually imperious serve will need to be at its best against the returning frenzy of Anisimova.
The Verdict: Anisimova to win in straight sets at 11/10- This will be the first career meeting between these two. I really think Anisimova could have the edge this week.
She is in much better form and Pliskova’s serve hasn’t been as devastating as it has been in the past. I think Anisimova will pounce on anything short and could dominate the Czech’s 2nd delivery.